Sunday, February 23, 2014

Raising the bar on my creativity - Let me know what you think!

Wonder Prayers
I've been having the best time this cold, cold winter, beading in my sunbeam that comes through the windows of my studio - if the sun is shining; sometimes I get snowflakes and white skies as I watch the birds and squirrels at the bird feeders.

My new work involves even more of what I love, and that is the art of the Golden Age of Illustration. I've discovered cabochons based on this type of artwork, and when I can't find the ones I want, I have learned how to make them -yay!

The pendant above is a detail of a Mucha illustration, and I love his artwork enough to spend 40 hours embellishing it so that it becomes a little piece of wearable art. I call this pendant Wonder Prayers because the beautiful young woman in this detail looks as if she's seen something she thinks is wondrous, so she has her hands together almost in prayer, coming up to her mouth, which she covers in wonder and laughter and excitement - what has she seen? What does she think? She is filled with wonder and enthusiasm (which is defined as "being filled with inspiration or ecstasy arising from supposed possession by a god").

Oh, it's you, wearing her! She loves you, you goddess, you!

Fluffy fringe

As you know, I love color, and this pendant incorporates the colors of the cabochon, greens and turquoise, a bit of red and orange, and lovely creme and bronze. It feels good to run your hands over the fringe, which is why I do it! The bottom beads are Czech dagger beads, made of glass. 

I learned a lot with this cab - having read how other beaders do certain parts, I found that I had better results if I went with my own stitching. The bail (the part that holds the pendant to the necklace) is done with a single thread that weaves through the beads several times for enduring strength. Tomorrow I will make her braided necklace of seed beads in the same colors that I incorporated in the fringe, with a sterling or silver filled fastener.

Wonderprayers (above) will either end up in the Green Drake Gallery or at another spot in town, such as Cafe Lemont, Gift Adventures, or a little place in Boalsburg - am figuring that out.

Little Goddess with her necklace
I've finally been able to finish my Little Goddess's necklace - had to decide what kind of style I wanted. I wanted something that would blend with the piece without detracting from it, and I wanted to avoid the somewhat dated look of a bunch of large beads strung together. The result is a braided seed bead necklace that blends with the pendant, does not detract, and feels comfortable to wear. It has a sterling silver and silver filled clasp that is easy to do up. Little Goddess stays in my personal collection since she's my first bead embroidered pendant and I love her very much.

Mucha springtime cabochon pendant
I have several Mucha cabochons that I'll be embellishing like this one - my Mucha Springtime Cabochon. I love his images of women in all their beauty and I love to celebrate this by embellishing them. This one also has the braided necklace chain with a sterling lobster clasp.

These pendants take between 30 and 40 hours to make. Hours spent listening to soft smooth jazz in Sirius radio or old time movies. Happy hours in my sunbeam overlooking the birds out in the yard. They incorporate thousands of beads, most are sewn through twice, some more than that, and yards of thread, which takes some negotiation not to tangle. 

Fluffy fringe!
As we know, I love fringe, and this Mucha Springtime pendant incorporates a nice bunch of it. It's bordered on the bottom by lovely Czech dagger beads, which give the fringe some weight so it hangs nicely. 

Good tools
These are some of the tools I use as I make the cabochon necklaces. The wooden tube labeled "Shepherdess" holds some of the beading needles I use, and the sterling silver container under the scissors also holds beading needles. That container used to be a 1920s holder for matches that you could strike along the bottom, but I've repurposed it. Also in this tool dish is my fairy thimble which my husband gave to me for Christmas one year. And beeswax for conditioning the thread, and a "sewing picker" for taking out some things sometimes, and of course my glasses so I can see what I'm doing.

Three Gnomes and a Couple of Bears with Treasure
The latest thing I'm working on is a storytelling bracelet - and I'm having a lot of fun with it. This will be a cuff bracelet. The main focal bead is a beautiful picture jasper bead that brings to mind a deep dark cave and a pathway and a bunch of cliffs to the side. So I put with it three little gnomes who live in the cave, and their friends, two bears. The moon (a beautiful coin pearl bead) shines down on them as they walk the paths to their lair, from which spill treasures of pearls. Their pathway is lit by torches along the way. 

The colors in this one are mainly blue grays, cream, tan, and brown. I have some more little gnome beads made in peru and some more gorgeous gemstone cabochon beads so will be doing more gnome cuff bracelets which will end up at the Green Drake Gallery and other places around town.

I will also have some cabochon pieces in my Etsy shop, Dreamkeeper Creations.

Magic waiting to happen
I have some cabochons I'm so excited to work on, and some of them are from Alice in Wonderland - the Queen (above) and the Mad Hatter (below). 

Mad Hatter magic waiting to happen
I've learned from the Wonderlit course I've been taking to mix my loves - fairy tales and beadworking does it for me - let me know what you think!

Signing off for now to go and create some more - ahh sweet creative hours!



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